Maple-Bourbon Pecan Salad Recipe

Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Maple-Bourbon Pecans:

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 ½ teaspoons bourbon
  • Pinch of coarse sea salt

For the Salad

  • 5 ounces mixed greens (baby spinach, arugula, spring mix, etc.)
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced (or your favorite crisp apple)
  • 2 small shallots, sliced into thin rings
  • 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese (chevre)

For the Red Wine Vinaigrette:

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 small clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried minced onion
  • ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment

  • Small saucepan or skillet
  • Large salad bowl
  • Small jar or container with lid

Instructions

1. Make the Maple-Bourbon Pecans:

  • In a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.
  • Add brown sugar, maple syrup, and bourbon. Stir until the mixture bubbles.
  • Immediately add pecans and stir well to coat. Cook for a minute or two, stirring frequently, until nuts are toasted and fragrant.
  • Remove from heat, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and let cool completely.

2. Make the Vinaigrette:

  • In a small jar or container, combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, garlic, dried minced onion, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Secure the lid and shake vigorously until all ingredients are fully emulsified.

3. Assemble the Salad:

  • In a large salad bowl, add the mixed greens, dried cranberries, sliced apple, and shallots.
  • Pour a generous amount of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss.
  • Top with crumbled goat cheese and the cooled Maple-Bourbon pecans.

Tips:

  • Adjust Sweetness: If you prefer a sweeter salad, add an extra teaspoon of maple syrup to the pecans.
  • Get Creative with Nuts: Try walnuts or almonds instead of pecans!
  • Make Ahead Option: Prepare the vinaigrette and pecans up to a day in advance. Store pecans in an airtight container at room temperature.

Enjoy! This salad is perfect as a light lunch or a side dish with grilled chicken or fish.

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